Driving Without a Valid License in Illinois
In Illinois, driving without a valid license is a serious offense with significant consequences. There are several possible reasons why you may not have a valid license, which will help determine the severity of the offense. Driving without a valid license is typically charged as Class B misdemeanor, which is a criminal offense, if you are caught driving under one of the three following scenarios:
- If you were previously issued a driver’s license or permit, which has been expired for greater than one year; or
- If you have never been issued a driver’s license or permit; or
- If you are not qualified to obtain a driver’s license or permit due to your age.
Unlicensed driving can also be charged as a Class A misdemeanor under alternative scenarios, such as if you failed to obtain a driver’s license or permit after the expiration of a period of revocation. In the alternative, if you have been issued a temporary visitor’s driver’s license (TVDL) and you are unable to show proof of liability insurance, this would invalidate your driving privileges and you could be charged with a petty offense.
It is important to understand that driving without a valid license is different than driving on a suspended or revoked license. Driving on a suspended or revoked license, under 625 ILCS 5/6-303, is a separate offense with different penalties and potential consequences.Criminal Penalties for Unlicensed Driving
Under Illinois law, 625 ILCS 5/6-101, you may face a maximum penalty of 180 days in jail and a $1,500.00 fine for driving without a valid license if the offense is charged as a Class B misdemeanor. Class A misdemeanors carry a maximum 12 months jail sentence and $2,500.00 fine. Of course, other penalties, such a period of court supervision or community service hours, may also be imposed.Driver's License Penalties
In addition to possible criminal penalties, you may suffer a driver's license suspension or revocation imposed by the Illinois Secretary of State. In other words, even if you have never been issued a license, the Secretary of State can enter a suspension or revocation on your record, which would prevent you from obtaining a license in the future.
The Secretary of State will impose the following license penalties if you are convicted for driving without a valid license (if you have no prior suspensions or revocations):
- 1st Conviction: 2-month Suspension
- 2nd Conviction: 4-month Suspension
- 3rd Conviction: 6-month Suspension
- 4th Conviction: 12-month Suspension
- 5th or Subsequent Conviction: License Revocation
Driver's license consequences are even more severe for those who have had a prior suspension or revocation.Our Attorneys Can Help
If you have been charged with driving without a valid license, you should seek competent legal representation from a driver's license lawyer. Our attorneys have successfully represented hundreds of individuals charged with driving without a valid license throughout Illinois. From teenagers who aren't old enough to get behind the wheel to adults who have never applied for a license, we understand the complexities and consequences of every scenario.
Our attorneys will start by evaluating your prior driving record in order to determine your the best strategy to achieve the best possible result. Our traffic attorneys can also help guide you to take the steps necessary to obtain a valid driver's license if you are eligible. Obtaining a driver’s license prior to your court date typically makes a significant difference in the final outcome of your case. The judge and prosecutor will look favorably upon those who take proactive measures to obtain a valid driver's license.Contact Us Today
The license reinstatement lawyers at The Davis Law Group, P.C. represent clients on a variety of driver's license charges. We are very familiar with the current laws as well as Illinois Secretary of State rules and procedures. Our attorneys provide professional and knowledgeable representation throughout the Chicago area including Cook County, Lake County and DuPage County. Contact us today to discuss your case.